Thursday, June 02, 2005

Rising Sun

Last night in Phoenix, Arizona the world got to see a rising star at his best. Suns forward/center Amare Stoudemire is just 22 years old and already he is showing the world that he wants to be the next best thing.

Battling in five games against arguably the best all-around big man in the league Amare impressed the millions who watched this series with his explosiveness to the bucket, his rebounding, shot blocking, his jumper and his overall athletic ability. Repeat – against arguably the best all-around big man in the league, Tim Duncan. And against a Spurs defense that is almost as good and definitely as stingy as the Detroit Pistons.

This five game series wasn’t the type of series that a historian will look back on and say, “Spurs in five – must’ve been easy.” No way – not these five games. In fact, I told a good friend of mine last night – that had the Suns won last nights Game 5 they would ‘Boston Red Sox’ the Spurs and win the series after losing the first three games. The look on Duncan, and Manu Ginobili and company’s face at times last night was as if they were agreeing with me. And the reason that they had that look on their faces…Amare.

Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said it best after the game, "And just think the guy is 22 years old."26 points per game, 9 boards per game, 1.6 assists and blocks per game this season…this kid is already one of the top ten players in the game and he’s got nothing but upside. He went for an incredible 37, 41, 34, 31 and in Game 5 a career playoff-best 42 points, along with 16 rebounds. And all of this happened with a slightly hyper extended elbow after hurting it early on against San Antonio while dunking.

Sure the Spurs advanced to the NBA Finals for the third time in seven seasons and are one of the best teams in sports, but I was rooting for this kid, Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and the Suns. I wanted to see their high flying, fast paced, semi-Showtime game in the NBA Finals. Their time will come, he’s still young and along with Nash and the rest of the supporting cast it’s a good thing San Antonio beat them this time around, because they might not next time.

It didn’t happen this year, but it will soon enough. I just can’t wait to see how much better Amare will be come next season…and playing with Nash – a great point guard - the Sun has never shined so brightly on Phoenix.


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